Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz  11:59

What are some other mistakes or bad examples of bad emails?

Mike Nellis  12:04

Yeah, I think other other mistakes is, you know, when you’re sending an email, only ask people to do one thing. There’s a ton of behavioral evidence out there that the more things you ask people to do, the less likely they are to do it. So if you’re working for a nonprofit organization, and you’re sending out an email, I get a ton of nonprofits who send me an email that’s like, make a donation today, volunteer at an upcoming event, attend a seminar, read this newsletter, etc, etc. Like, I’m unlikely to do any of those things. But if you send me one compelling email, that’s, here’s the problem that we’re trying to solve.

Here’s the solution or the opportunity that we have to solve it together. And then a compelling request for money that points to me towards “Hey, if you donate $50-$100, right now, you’re gonna, you’re gonna make a difference.” And in Oregon, a Chicago organization that’s relatively new that does a good job of this is the grace network. I highly recommend people check that out. Their founders are amazing, but the Grace Network helps provide basic supplies to kids who are struggling with like homelessness. And I know it’s not the right terms to say more, so I apologize. But I’ve been anybody but housing insecurity is the right here, who experienced housing insecurity and like in Chicago right now with like, influx of like, you know, migrants and people who are fleeing violence and poverty, like, there are a lot more of those kids.

So like, they’re helping to get like, you know, basic food, basic supplies, helping with like, provide schools with like laundry machines, so that kids can wash their clothes, because you never know, like, what the one thing that’s going to trigger somebody to kind of give up is, or what the one thing that might inspire them to be so like, they’re focused on small stuff, they do a great job of just like connecting that mission and making it really clear if I give them 500 bucks, like, what’s that, Scott?

Jeremy Weisz  13:44

Mike, I love what you say, which is really rooted in direct, good direct response. I’d love to hear are there any resources people mentors, like you’ve mentioned, selling a feeling? That’s a political thing. That’s actually if you’re selling a Ferrari, right? I mean, that’s ultimately whether it’s a good or service you mentioned, but one call to action? What are any resources or mentor books that you have? You learned more these direct response principles have helped you.

Mike Nellis  14:18

I think some of the best resources I’ve ever written are like Chip Heath and his brother. They’ve written a ton of really great books. Made to Stick is yeah, one of the sticks is one of the I think when I got my master’s in strategic communication, it was the first book assigned to me. And it opened up so many different pathways in my brain, both explaining why some of the things I had been doing for years in my career were working but also explaining ways to sort of maximize them and Chip has a new book about numbers. I forget the name of it.

Jeremy Weisz  14:47

Because I think it is actually what they have. Which moment is a stick?

Mike Nellis  14:51

Yeah, so they have big moments. They’ve got one, he’s got one now about numbers. I forget the name of it, but um, It’s really great. It talks about how the science of how you can take a big number and turn it into something that sticks with people and generates the emotion that you want. Because so many organizations and I think for nonprofits or political campaigns that plagues them, how do we talk about dense topics in a relatable way so that people understand what we’re trying to do. So I’ve been reflecting on that a lot.

Jeremy Weisz  15:21

Yeah, is upstream, the one that was made to stick the power of the moment switch decisive and upstream?

Mike Nellis  15:31

I don’t know if there was, maybe there’s a more recent one besides that, but I’ll find it and maybe you can put it in the notes.

Jeremy Weisz  15:35

So I love it. There was one out I want to tell people to check out. I did an interview with Richard Viguerie, actually, who also has done direct mail fundraising. You know, he talked a lot about direct response in that interview, it was actually interesting, because at the time, he was 81. And he was still working 14 hours a day, which was pretty remarkable, dedicated. But check that one out, the back

Mike Nellis  16:01

Dedicated is no word for it Jeremy.

Jeremy Weisz  16:04

Culture. All right, talk about the toxic culture, you know, specifics, but what you saw there that you were definitely maybe going to do the opposite of with your company, and then we’ll talk about some of the stuff that you’re doing.

Mike Nellis  16:17

Yeah, I think the number one thing is treating people like numbers, I hate that. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t run like a thoughtful data driven business. But like, you have to realize that people are human. And when you overload them with too much work, or if you treat them poorly, like they’re gonna leave you and so your retention rate is going to be less, and you’re going to spend an inordinate amount of money on retraining and explaining to clients like why people are leaving, and it’s for a service industry agency like ours, like, it’s high touch, it’s very difficult to explain. And you know, there’s other stuff too, there was some, like the way that women and people of color were treated and promoted and given a pathway to success, the company was not great.

There was financial mismanagement, I, there weren’t a lot of things, it was a great example of what not to do. Because the work was good. And the trajectory of the agency was good, it should, it doesn’t exist, any one company literally doesn’t exist today, it should still be here, but it’s not. And that’s incredibly frustrating. So when we set out to build authenticity, and I want to say up front, as we talked about this, we’ve made a million mistakes, like we’ve just gotten some stuff wrong, usually with a good with a good heart involved, but like it management is hard leadership is hard. And you’re gonna make the you guys, a lot of times you make the best decision you can with the information you have, and it ends up being the wrong one.

And sometimes it hasn’t been the right one and the way he didn’t expect so. But we sent out and like the very first thing I did, when I started Authentic, I wrote a handbook, I wrote a handbook, and I detailed what it was gonna look like if we had, how we were gonna treat each other. And if we had an incident that involved HR and like I hired an outside HR consultant like that was before I had a single employee. And to me, it was reflective of the fact that I had worked at large organizations that had 100-200 employees that didn’t have a handbook, that didn’t have paternity leave, that I had never thought through the scenarios of that.

And so I sat down, and I did a ton of research. And I did that which made me a better CEO, because now I was thinking through, hey, I’m eventually going to have somebody who needs to go on leave, because they’re going to have a kid and I’m going to have someone that’s maybe eventually going to do something that they shouldn’t, and I need a pathway to handle that. And it was a very rudimentary, very basic handbook. We have a much more advanced handbook now that Laura and my business partner has, has pioneered, and she is really our, our head of culture, she does an amazing job of that. I also think it’s just, there’s a tendency, I imagine this exists in every industry.

But when working for social impact organizations, you kind of borrow on people’s passion for the cause. So if you’re someone who really cares about the future of our democracy, or you really care about a particular issue area for a nonprofit, like you can kind of whether you mean to or not, you can take advantage of that person’s passion, or you can get them to work those 14 hour days, for a long period of time. But you end up burning through those people so quickly. And if you look at major companies, smaller companies, other organizations, you can find, like people littered throughout those organizations who have done a year two, three working for a political campaign, for example, but who couldn’t sustain working in the industry and build a family with quality mental health, because they’re so hard to work on.

So for us, it’s how do we build a great package of benefits that takes care of our staff? How do we balance workloads in a way that is meaningful? How do we have a flexible leave policy that allows people to actually take it and not be taken advantage of? Jeremy already kind of mentioned this, but like, we’re pioneering what I believe to be at least on the business side of social impact of good organizations like the first four day work week in the space. We’ve been doing that for the last couple of weeks, and we’ll be doing it for the next few months. And it’s just also just taking a risk and trying something new and not not accepting that like, “Oh, we’ve always done it this way.” You know, you got to kind of look at the possibilities and like, find ways to change because the way we work right now is broken.

Jeremy Weisz  20:00

What made you decide to do that one? Um, and people I’d actually did an interview with, the four day week with Andrew Barnes who, I don’t know if he started, co-founded But they talked about, we really kind of went into the details of how that transformed his company. But talk about why you decided to do that?

Mike Nellis  20:27

We decided it for a couple of reasons. I think that the first is it was kind of an accidental discovery during the COVID years, let’s call them that. We implemented like a half day on Fridays, and it was going to be like a summer initiative where we’re going to take Friday afternoons off, and we basically never stopped. And there was concern when we did that, then it was in an election year, and a lot of our clients are election based. So we were afraid that our clients would be angry with us. We weren’t online on a Friday. And the truth is over a two to three year period, like nobody noticed, just nobody noticed, nobody cared like we set a clear expectation with our staff, hey, look, if something happens on a Friday afternoon, you have to go back into work, you’ve got to pull out your laptop and do the work for the client. And we’ll make sure you get that time back later.

Right. So you have to work on that. But we basically started treating Friday afternoons, like a weekend. And then it kind of evolved into this conversation of like, well, if we just never logged in on Friday, and we did our work Monday through Thursday, would anybody else. And then couple that with over the last couple of years, all these studies that have come out about how four day workweek helps with retention helps with mental health and burnout helps with productivity and creativity. We decided like last year, we were going to try to find a way to do this and dive into the deep end a little bit on something new. And you know, so far, we’re like about a month in maybe a little bit less than a month. And it’s been fairly successful. We’re in I think week, week four, week five and haven’t had a single complaint from a client, all the work is taken care of.

And we’ve got great safety nets for that stuff. I mean, we work in politics for a lot of our clients, that means we’re news based. So like if something happens on a Friday, we have to go back to work. But if something happens on a Saturday, we have to go back in order to do so . I think we’ve got a good, good balance for it. And I’m a big believer in jobs like these that are hard and require things like, like Jeremy, like, if you’re frustrated with what’s going on in the news or in the election, you have the luxury of turning the TV off, and not bother, I don’t have that. So I think giving our staff more flexibility to manage their lives, will lead to better outcomes, even if it means like Monday through Thursday, they might work a little bit more a little bit harder. I think it’d be more efficient.

Jeremy Weisz  22:30

You know, I mean, you say you’ve really only done it for four or five weeks. But really, you’ve done it for a couple of years, because you stepped into it slowly with the half a day Friday. So it’s almost like you tested it for a while and realized it actually was working and then just pushed it a little bit further. So what else?

Mike Nellis  22:51

Jeremy, if I can add one more thing, which is I think the most amazing thing to me is how supportive our clients have been about it, they’ve been like, and the number one thing I hear is we trust you to figure this out. And so I think if you have if you’re out there, and you’re thinking about doing this, if you have a good relationship with your clients, if they trust you, if they believe in what you’re trying to do, you can take this risk and just do a pilot, like like we’re doing a pilot, right? Like we’re gonna make adjustments to it when it doesn’t work. And we’ve got blackout periods for next year when work is really tough. So like we’re trying something new. I’m excited about it.

Jeremy Weisz  23:20

Yeah. I love it. If people want Andrew Barnes goes into the details of how they actually implemented it from the beginning. So you can check that one out, too. What else with culture has been important, and you mentioned mistakes, what’s maybe a mistake that you learn from that put you on a really good trajectory, right? Because we often learn the most from mistakes that we’ve made.

Mike Nellis  23:52

Yeah, I think the number one mistake that I’ve made in my career, like one I haven’t, well, I have them now they’re all coming to me. But for me, I had to learn the hard way of the value of systems and processes in a business, but also in my personal life. Like I’m someone who it’s always come really naturally to me that I can write really quickly, I can process really quickly, I can think on my feet. And so I had given myself a false belief that I didn’t have to have a system or a process because I could just figure anything out. Because I’m so smart.

You know, it was very arrogant. In my 20s and in my early 30s. What I’ve learned in the last couple years is if I combine my ability to move quickly, my ability to process quickly and make decisive decisions with the systems and processes with frameworks that helped me do that. It’s like rocket fuel. So that’s the number one thing and the smartest thing I ever did was hire Lorraine Rashaan who again is my business partner and presently she is my polar opposite. She is the yin to my Yang like she has all systems and processes. She does the things that I think give her energy and don’t give me a lick of energy but things that she’s really really good at. So that’s number one.

The second thing is when building a leadership team or hiring managers or leaders, making sure that they get what you’re trying to do, want what you’re trying to accomplish, and have the capacity to do it. Because I’ve had so many people who check maybe one or two boxes, and I’m like, Oh, I can get there on the third box. But you really, it’s really hard to get them. Right. If they don’t understand, they’re never going to be able to do what you want. And for a lot of folks, if they don’t have the capacity, you can’t really like, you can train people to do skills. And that’s probably the thing that’s the most teachable. But capacity extends beyond just like, hey, do you know how to code a fundraiser, but extends to like, do you have the emotional intelligence to do the work?

Can you sit on a leadership team? Can you not sit on a leadership team? So those are the things that I think about and then the third thing is, in the early years of the company, I didn’t do a very good job of articulating the vision for the company like where we’re trying to take it where we want to be in five years, 10 years. And because of that, you can see cracks throughout the organization, as people didn’t know where they were swimming, so folks were headed this way. And so folks read it that way. And it was really frustrating. Now, I feel more than ever, and it can still be improved in many different ways. But a much more unified cohesive team that understands where we’re going in the right direction, because we have the right people who are sitting in the right seats, and are all swimming together in the right direction.

Jeremy Weisz  26:17

Like talk about that. You mentioned systems and processes. Talk about tech stack for a second. And what you do to manage these systems and processes if you have CRMs. If you have project management tools, what are you using?

Mike Nellis  26:33

Yeah, so I’m gonna talk about my personal tech stack first, because as a founder, I think that’s incredibly important. Like I used to be such a notebook guy, like I carried a notebook everywhere I went, I used bullet journaling for the longest time over a decade of bullet journaling, for sure. And it worked for me like it was great, but it wasn’t enough like I had. I would take notes and the notes would get lost, I would look at it, I would be done with one notebook, I would probably never look at it again. And over time, it became clear to me like, what the heck was I doing? So I took a course by Tiago Forte, and his pair method PARA for managing notes and basically building a second brain. And so is my tech stack. For me, I kind of think about like, you know, three or four core tools are one. I use the notion to manage all of my notes, all of my task management, all of my projects, all my areas of responsibility, it is essentially my second brain.

If Notion disappeared tomorrow, I would probably be freaking lost. Which is why by the way, I back it up once a month that way, just in case, something happens because you never know. I think the second one is my Google Calendar. Like I manage my Google Calendar pretty efficiently. I use time blocking. I color code things based on the different areas of responsibility that I have, and that I, me and my VA work together to kind of track them all up. And then I have a read later app. Because I find that there’s so many times that I’m like, dude, scrolling through social media, or maybe I’m just like on Twitter, or Twitter in the old days, you know, looking for Notre Dame football news, which is like one of my big hobbies. And you know, I see something else.

And I’m like, kind of want to read that, but not right now. And I’ll send myself an email, and then I’ll never really read it. I use matter. Matter is the app that I use, I really like it. And I feel like there’s probably like one more app that’s worth mentioning. But I forget on the company side, like we use Asana, for that, and I think Assad is a really great tool. It’s much more like note, the thing about notion is, notion is like a very powerful series of tools. But when you start it’s a complete blank slate. So you have to build everything out. Asana provides a lot of tools that are already built out, but then it’s less customizable. So when scaling it to a 50 person organization like Authentic, it makes sense to use it like an Asana. If you’re a founder like me with a very chaotic brain that wants things in a very particular way, I think Notion is the way to go.

Jeremy Weisz  28:44

Talk about time blocking, and how you use time blocking.

Mike Nellis  28:49

I love time blocking. I think that you know, as a founder of multiple companies like I have four businesses all together, I’ve served on a couple of nonprofit boards, I have a four and a half year old, I also have a somewhat thriving social life in between on occasion. Like it requires some amount of discipline and planning in order to do and meet the objectives that I want. And so I use time blocking, which is essentially like I just put in my calendar, like, “Hey, I’m gonna do this task at this time. I’m going to take this meeting at this time, and I break it all out.” Right. And so and I’m relatively new to it, I think more so than a lot of other people.

There’s lots of folks who’ve been doing it for years, Mike, Lauren have been doing it for years, I’m probably more like six months into really time blocking. And I got into it because I just didn’t have control over my priorities. I just did it. And I was saying yes to too many meetings. And when you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. And oftentimes the thing you’re saying no to that you don’t know is more important than the things you said yes to so I think just it’s really for me about the intentionality of time and progress.

Jeremy Weisz  29:51

I want to give people a sense about what you do. One of the organizations you worked with was Can You talk about what you did there? Sure.

Mike Nellis  30:01

So we work with, which is basically like the nation’s largest provider of voter contact information for voters. It’s a nonprofit or nonpartisan organization, people will probably know it because it is the organization that Taylor Swift is always talking about. And so on. There’s Taylor on our website, which is just good marketing in this day and age. See, when we got to tailor came to us.

Last year, in the middle of last year, they were suffering through a massive email deliverability issue like their emails were going to spam. Their previous vendor had done kind of a poor job of managing and maintaining and keeping up with the way that the industry has changed. And so they are a big part of the work that does is they send millions and millions of updates to voters to help them find to help them to help them find their polling place, make sure they turn out to vote. And if you can’t reach people via email, it was like a disaster for them.

So the challenge was helping them like completely reinvigorate their CRM completely reinvigorate their email program, improve their open rate, help them get in front, and we’ve now been working with them for the better part of two years, we’ve helped them completely turn that around, we helped them have one of the best low dollar fundraising years they’ve ever had this year in 2023. We helped them send you know, millions and millions of voter alerts in all 50 states this year for the off year elections. And last year in the 2022 midterm elections, we’ll be doing the same in 2024. So it’s a great relationship. And they’re like a wonderful, awesome organization.

Jeremy Weisz  31:28

We’re looking at some of the if you’re if you’re listening to the audio, we actually have the video up, we have You can see their website here. But we’re looking at the page. And there’s a couple examples here. I don’t know if we want to we’ll just scroll through them, you know, because it’s ultimately Mike, when I look at your stuff, and I’ve listened to a bunch of your videos, it’s a lot of times a masterclass on direct response, email getting, you know, getting in front of people, and a lot of different things are being done here. So I don’t know if there’s anything you want to comment on any of these particular ones, and maybe some of the thoughts behind what went into it.

Mike Nellis  32:07

I mean, I think the biggest thing is like you had that Taylor Swift email there, and it’s, from my perspective, it’s we’re trying to meet people where they are, right. So if you’re like, look, Taylor Swift is a perfect example. She has captured the world by storm really in the last decade, but certainly in the last year. And she’s basically everywhere. And she has leveraged her platform to help other people vote, I think the single biggest day that had for voter registrations on their website was the day that Taylor posted about it on Instagram, just to give you an example of the cross cultural power that she has.

And so we wrote an email to people because now we have all these new signups. So we started to piggyback on Taylor, we started to piggyback on her imagery, but we met people where they weren’t right. If Taylor Swift is providing such a boost of energy and enthusiasm for our democracy through We can’t just send them boring, basic emails, we have to kind of update and refresh for the people we’re talking to. And then if you go to the second email there, that’s a fundraising email we sent people. Right around the time Georgia was heading into a runoff, I believe it was 2022 . The biggest thing I’ll tell you here, it’s like another example of meeting people where they are. You’ll see Express donate buttons there.

And for those who aren’t in the know, that’s essentially like when you buy something on Amazon with one click, your payment information is already saved. So we were sending this to people who we knew we had their credit card information for through our vendor at Blue. So that dramatically increases your conversion rate. So what you’re looking at is a program that is technically proficient and maximizes its deliverability. So their open rates are high. It’s telling a good story and meeting people where they are and then it’s using quality tactics like one click donations to maximize conversion rates and bring in a significant chunk of dollars.

And a lot of times when I talk to people about the programs that were running in the programs they want to run they want to hear about these like big, bold, creative, exciting ideas and at the end of the day, and I think it’s probably true in 99% of all projects and organizations just doing the basic stuff that’s maybe a little boring is the pathway to success and it doesn’t mean you can’t do something cool and exciting. I think we’ve done a lot of cool and exciting things in the last six years. But you have to do the basics before you can do any of them and I think is a perfect example of that because when we inherited it a lot of the basics were not being covered and now we’ve been really put them in a really great spot so that when Taylor Swift posts on Instagram about them we’re ready to go.

Jeremy Weisz  34:35

Yeah, it makes me think of sports. Mike woods like you look at the fundamentals right and I think of John Wooden right I mean some of the best players basketball coaches of all time focus on the fundamentals again those right

Mike Nellis  34:47

or No, is that right? If you look like a wide receiver, like most people are gonna see like a randy mosque or you know, while we’re on while we’re on Taylor Swift with Travis Kelce is a perfect example. It’s not a wide receiver but he’s, you know, a beast on it. feel, and like he’s doing footwork, and exercising, do stuff that’s really really boring to like, take care of his body, but learn the motions that he needs to do. And like, all we see is like a sick touchdown on a Sunday night game.

Jeremy Weisz  35:14

Let’s talk about Quiller. For a second, I’m gonna pull in Quiller. And at what point did you decide, okay, I’m not busy enough, I need another company and a new software company.

Mike Nellis  35:27

I like to joke that I have ADHD. And instead of taking medication, I just start new businesses. But I think for me, we have struggled with burnout in social impact organizations for so long, and a lot of it has to do with because we are underfunded and understaffed, we don’t have enough people that want to do this work. And we don’t have enough campaigns that are willing to spend the money to invest in hiring and training up the staff. So we end up having to ask people to do the job of like 10 different humans. So if you’re a digital strategist for a nonprofit, or a campaign, you’re a social media expert. You’re an email expert, you’re a texting and SMS expert, your stakeholder manager, you got to do graphic design, you got to do video on that is too much to ask someone, even a young person who’s very talented to do.

And I had a time in my life when I had 20 different clients working at another firm and like that’s not sustainable. You can’t do good work that way. So about a year and a half ago, I started going down this rabbit hole of wondering if I could use AI to build a copilot for my team that will help make their lives a little bit easier. And during all that we had this like explosion of AI tools. I started like a little bit before that, quite a bit of a head start. But you know, Chechi beauty comes out. It’s very clear that generative AI presents a historic opportunity to change the way basically every organization functions. And I’m a big believer in Moneyball, I’m huge. I love the Moneyball book, I love it.

The Brad Pitt movie is if you’re not, you know, if you’re not rebuilding your organization with this, you’re already a dinosaur, right. And I feel that way about AI. And I think from our perspective, we started up but we built this like ugly prototype of a tool that could write quality fundraising emails, and it was assigned to help our team and then I was like, I can’t keep this inside. Like, I feel like I can commercialize this, I feel like I can bring it to the industry. And we went out and we raised $1,000,001.2 million, and hired a great CEO, Hillary Lehr, who has a ton of experience doing and building up companies like this. And right now we’ve got like 100 different campaigns and organizations using it with varying degrees of success, because we still have to teach people how to use the tool and teach them how prompt generation works.

But we’re really excited about the prospect here. And we’re also basically the first, you know, major AI mover in the political space. And so we’re helping to bring new technology to a space that is typically terrified of new technology. So we’re kind of excited about it. And I think I’m Jeremy just because I’m a big believer in goals like beagles and seagulls, right. So like, the a goal for Quiller is let’s build a tool that’s widely used and changes the way that we do generative AI, the seagull for me is like, let’s demystify AI in this space so that others have the headwinds that they can go out there and, and create new tools that change the space. So I feel like we’re doing a joint mission. That’s really, really cool and interesting to me. And I’ve also just gotten a chance to learn a ton like this is really interesting technology, as terrifying as it is, and it is terrifying. I also think it’s really, really cool.

Jeremy Weisz  38:27

What made you decide to raise money, obviously, you bootstrapped, Authentic what? Why raise money for Quiller?

Mike Nellis  38:36

The cost of bootstrapping agencies is much, much lower. And I was lucky to have a couple of early clients, including like our first client was Kamala Harris, who is now the vice president United States. The technological startup fees are much larger, like the cost of building the prototype was like, you know, $100,000, the cost to commercialize and build the MVP was more than that. And it was like, if we could have taken funds from Authentic, we built it in authenticity and then we sort of split it out after that. But we could have taken money that the company had and built Quiller and owned it 100%. But my view of it was, it didn’t, it didn’t make sense to sort of risk the financial health of Authentic on something that was less stable, like Authentic is going to continue to do well.

If I get hit by a bus tomorrow. I think Lauren, and our leadership team and the rest of our managers would continue to crush it and do really well. When you’re introducing new technology, startups are born debt. I heard that recently a startup is already dead. And like the minute you start when you’re like already resuscitating right and I feel that way, like Quiller might fail. Like I think I get a lot of people that are really excited.

They’re like, “Oh, I’m like, I love your ability to just like, create something from nothing and take a risk and blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, that’s great. I appreciate and respect all of that, but like Willer might fail and I think because it’s new and maybe somebody will do a better job or maybe another piece of technology that’s coming will engulf it and like that happens to a lot of technology. We could sort of play all of our cards right? We could do all the great You’re going to fail. So that’s why I think you come in and you bring in investors to help you minimize the risk for yourself and to give you the scale and ability to move quickly like we were able to launch and commercialize much more quickly and higher up much more quickly because we took up on.

Jeremy Weisz  40:15

So Mike, I do want to get to a poker story, but just for a minute a few mistakes and misuse of AI?

Mike Nellis  40:25

I think misuses of AI especially for like, for like the 24 elections, like you’re gonna find bad faith actors will use it for disinformation. So scaling up like what we saw in 2016, where there were all these different, you know, lies on social media, like, that’s probably going to be on steroids this cycle. So everybody has to build better critical thinking skills, I think and then media organizations need to do a better job of, like, actually explaining what’s going on, because the media does not do a good job of that right now. Because it’s more entertainment than it is information.

And I also think you’re gonna see like, the rise of like, deep fakes, you’re gonna find like, a lot of videos of like, you know, there’s, there’s gonna be like a in 20. In 2016, there was a video of or not a video but an image of Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump, that was clearly fake. But a lot of people believed it. The 2024 version of that will be like a video of Pope Francis wearing a puffy jacket with his arm around Donald Trump, like pointing his finger out. And like, people need to like

Jeremy Weisz  41:17

Why are you giving people ideas?

Mike Nellis  41:19

I mean, I really don’t need ideas. Roger Stone is somewhere in a deep dark basement just coming up. Um, but you know, that’s what you’re gonna see. But I think people need to be careful about their data, then you become about voter data. We need to like, just be really thoughtful about how we implement this technology into the ecosystem.

Jeremy Weisz  41:37

So at the last minute I want to hear a great poker story. I still don’t know if you were a professional poker player. I think that’s fair to say. Right?

Mike Nellis  41:48

I was mildly successful. And I probably think I could have been really great at it. But I chose this career instead. And I’ve no regrets, lots of regrets, probably, but no regrets really. I played the World Series of Poker a couple of times. I played with Bruce Buffer for like eight hours. The UFC announcer I think I knocked out of the tournament I cashed in World Series poker man, I knocked Nate Silver out from 530 was a big election forecaster.

And anytime I see people talking about how great Nate Silver is, with data and math, I’m always like, I beat that guy at a game. Like how good can he be a map because like, I’m not that good at math. Which is silly. I stood in line for the bathroom with Jason Alexander at the World Series poker, so like just weird stuff like that. I once lost a hand of poker that cost me 600,000 hours, which is maybe a story for the next time you invite me back.

Jeremy Weisz  42:37

I love it. Well, Mike, I want to be the first one to thank you for sharing your journey. Your stories everyone could check out, And, Mike, thanks for joining me.

Mike Nellis  42:49

Thanks for having me. Jeremy. Appreciate it.